Something I often see with people who want to change their career, is that they’ve got a few vague ideas about what to do next, but they can’t see through the haze and just pick one.
How do you know which is the right one?
“What if I spend lots of time researching and going down one route, only to find it’s not right for me and I’ve wasted time? How do I decide which path to take? Why can’t someone just tell me what to do?!”
The solution is – pick one. Just pick one and try it out. Stop procrastinating, stop wasting time. The only way to stop dithering is to take some action. Get some real insight and experience and you’ll know if it’s right for you.
You might have quite a list of possible options, from the safe and practical to the wildly exciting and (for now) completely out of reach.
But most people will only have around 1-3 things they’re really seriously contemplating.
Maybe your options are:
1) Stay put and go for a promotion. I’m stagnating in this role. Maybe more money and responsibility is what I need? Maybe I’ll love it? Or at least if I’m earning more and have a better job title I’ll feel better about my life?
2) Find a job in another company. Maybe my current role is actually ok, it’s just my company that I don’t like? If I were doing the same role in a really cool company, where I actually share the same values, maybe that’d be a good change?
3) Retrain as (fill in the blank). My secret dream. I think I’d love to do this, but it seems so out of reach. I’d need to do at least a year’s training. And the cost of the course will be loads…And I’m not sure I’m really confident enough to go for it, what if I’m no good?
3 month rule
So the first step is, pick one and give yourself three months to gather information and start taking action. Ignore the other ideas for the time being. Don’t procrastinate around picking the first one, just pick the one that leaps out to you the most today.
Side note – by the way, this doesn’t mean that I think you can or should change career in 3 months. Of course it’s possible, but it took me waaaay longer, from the first moment I thought about changing. But 3 months is a good amount of time to get stuck into your project and a lot can be achieved.
Next, write a list of all the little goals you’d need to achieve to get there. Write down everything. First steps, like find out HR manager name, find LinkedIn account login, Google search where you could do a course in your area. Make each step small and achievable. Keep going through to the final goal – receive promotion letter and accept it. Receive job offer and accept it. First day of course!
Now put some time frames on your list – realistically how soon can you achieve each goal? Make it achievable but push yourself too, try and take a small action daily if possible.
Then, you are going to methodically work through your list, ticking things off as you go. You can add to it when you realise there’s a missing step – but DON’T add to the list just to procrastinate. Keep really focussed on achieving your goal.
When it gets to the three month mark, you can reassess. Where have you got to after three months of research and (crucially) taking action? Have you achieved your goal? (Whoo!) Have you realised it’s not for you? Are you feeling uninspired by what you’ve found out?
Don’t worry if you’ve realised it’s not for you – this is good news! Because you can scratch this idea from your big list. Now you’ve got headspace to concentrate on the other two. You’re getting closer to working out what you really want to do.
Maybe in this time you’ve had a realisation, and are on a different path anyway.
The whole point of this process is to get you taking action. The number one cause of all my frustration and angst before going through my career change was thinking and worrying so much, rather than taking some kind of action.
As soon as I took things into my own hands and started doing, taking serious steps to change things, it all became a lot easier and more exciting.
Speaking of taking action, I’ve recently launched my 1-hour Get Unstuck! coaching calls. Designed to get you taking action straight away, after a 1-hour call with me. Email me at email@example.com to arrange.